It is a little known fact that office design is a crucial factor in the success of a modern business. Far too many working environments are thrown together by chance, rather than being thought out with logic. A well designed office fosters good communication, improved efficiency and staff morale, and creating such a working environment is probably easier – and cheaper – than you thought.
1. Light and space
When your employees are spending between eight and twelve hours a day in the office, it’s important to keep them connected to the outside world. There have been several studies into the relationship between natural light and office productivity, and most of them suggest that workers are happier, more motivated and far more productive when their space is flooded with natural light. Moreover, employees need to feel like they have space to breathe a times. By allowing natural light to flood through office windows, and organising your office furniture in a way that makes the best possible use of available space, you can ensure your workers remain happy and at the peak of their productive powers.
2. Plan communal areas
Life can become very boring and monotonous if your employees are expected to sit at their desks for the duration of every work day. However, by including recreation and working break-out areas, you can give them a change of environment whilst fostering an environment of collaboration and communication. If you want your staff to relax in these areas, it may also be a good idea to consult with carpet suppliers in order to find the most appropriate floor covering for the space.
3. Find a home for everything
Clutter and general untidiness can make it very difficult for workers to concentrate on their duties; it can also create potentially dangerous tripping hazards. Moreover, these issues can create a negative impression amongst your clients. By building in storage during the planning stages, you can ensure that everything in your office has a permanent home. This may mean utilising space under desks, in wall recesses and in other areas of ‘dead space’. It’s probably a good idea to include a refreshment area too, so you can keep food away from desks and out of sight.
4. Look at furniture as an investment
At the planning stage of office design, you may be tempted to opt for the cheapest items of furniture, but that could be a mistake for two reasons. Firstly, inferior items may not last as long, so they will need replacing far more quickly than durable, more expensive items of furniture. Secondly, badly designed chairs and desks can play havoc with your employees’ backs. Investing in ergonomic seating that can be adapted to the user’s size and posture could reduce instances of back pain – which could ultimately reduce sick days.
5. Try to keep things flexible
You may not be able to predict what the future holds for your business with any degree of accuracy, so it might be prudent to keep your office design as flexible as possible. That could mean buying movable desks, cabinets and storage equipment. If all of your furniture is on wheels – and not bolted into place – you can alter the design of your office as your business grows. You may want to create meeting spaces for one-off events, or you may find that your current office set-up just isn’t working. It always pays to have the ability to change the set-up of your office at short notice.
6. Keep things quiet
There will, of course, be a degree of noise in any office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your office’s design to minimise noise disruption for the good of productivity and employee morale. Try to create a dedicated space for large pieces of equipment such as photocopiers, computer servers and printers. It may also be worth carpeting the high-traffic areas of your office in order to muffle footsteps. A carpets specialist will be able to go through your options with you in detail.
A happy, well designed office is usually a productive and profitable one. By investing a little time and money from the outset, there is no reason why you can’t use your office as a way of improving your business for both your balance sheet and your employees.